Posted February 13, 2007 10:33 am by with 5 comments

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Business Week is reporting plans by many social networking sites to open up their network to content developers, in an effort to grow their user base.

[Facebook],, LinkedIn, Friendster, and Google’s orkut are expected to…open their code to third-party developers this year as well—promising to kick off a spurt of innovation in social networking.

Virgin Mobile is among the many company’s licking their chops, at the thought of tapping into these mega-networks. Having access to an API (application program interfaces), many companies will be able to launch mashups and tools that will satisfy the growing needs of many social network members, as well as helping the networks grow their existing user numbers.

After social network Friendster opened up its proprietary software to a select dozen or so developers six months ago, the number of unique visitors rose by 17.6%, to 18.8 million, in December, 2006. “This is our biggest [month-over-month] growth since launch,” says Jeff Roberto, marketing director at Friendster. Now, for example, Friendster users can create slide shows of photos on and then post them directly onto the social-networking site.

Nearly 18% growth from just a handful of developers? Imagine the growth when the API is available to anyone that cares to use it?

  • Not to be a nitpicker or a pain in the ass, but the site’s visitors grew to nearly 19 million. It didn’t grow by nearly 19 million.

    Still a 17.6% jump in unique visitors is utterly remarkable. It’s absolutely enough to encourage other social networks to provide public or semi-public APIs.

  • Nice catch Teresa. I corrected the statement. Thanks

  • It’s interesting. Will there ever come a time when folks will want their social networks to be more exclusive and not as open to the masses? Certainly having open tech is a must, but I think the pendulum may swing back at some point, but only from a demographic standpoint.

  • If MySpace ever opens up their API, a thousand new businesses will crop up, and I’ll be the first to jump on that bandwagon.

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